Durham and Darlington’s police boss has warned the region is losing out after criticising a proposed government funding settlement.

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Joy Allen warned the provisional six per cent increase will restrict Durham Constabulary from making the full raft of improvements needed. 

PCC Allen says the figure will severely inhibit the force and does nothing to mitigate cuts to the capital budget, high inflation and increased costs.

Many forces are already overspending their overtime budgets and cancelling officer rest days to meet demand, she added. 

“This six per cent increase will do nothing to support growth and is merely there to fund the majority of the seven per cent pay award for officers and staff, announced in 2023.

“Under the present regime, wealthy forces are getting wealthier and forces with a lower tax base like Durham are getting poorer. We need to see an equitable approach to funding, which requires a radical change in policy from the Government.

“There is a stark difference between recorded crime changes in Durham over the last 12 years when compared to similar forces, yet we have seen substantially less additional funding than our colleagues. We also remain the only force in this group to have seen officer numbers go backwards (by 144 officers) compared to others that have hundreds more than they did in 2010.”

PCC Allen has written to Home Secretary James Cleverly and crime minister Chris Philp, urging them to improve the offer. 

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She said in the absence of adequate grant funding this would make a tough budget even tougher, and that she was reluctant to pass the full financial penalty onto local taxpayers.

Many PCCs, she argued, were funding their capital programmes from debt which is “unsustainable” and will require significant revenue savings to offset the resulting debt charges.

“I understand the difficulties in agreeing capital funding however I cannot emphasise enough the challenges faced by a lack of capital funding,” PCC Allen warned.